Hospital Chaplin Performs Religious Ceremonies In Hospital Parking Lot

Baylee Friday
March 27, 2020 - 1:23 pm

BEDFORD (1080 KRLD) - As hospitals crackdown on COVID- 19 precautions, staff members are shaking up the norm. In Bedford, one hospital chaplain has been performing religious ceremonies ... in the parking lot.

Jackie Chambers is a hospital chaplain at Texas Health HEB hospital. She recently performed a baptism on a man in the parking lot ... and though it was a first for her ... she’s had a similar encounters. 

"This was my first baptism in the parking lot," Chambers said, laughing. "Not my first-- as a matter of fact, I think two weeks ago I did ashes in the parking lot. So right about now I'm being characterized as the Parking Lot Chaplain." 

With hospitals cracking down on visitation policies, Chambers has had to get creative with how she serves. 

She says the man's baptism had been planned for several weeks. He had a major surgery coming up, and wanted to be baptized before the day-of. But then the COVID-19 pandemic began, and he was no longer allowed in the hospital before the surgery.

"And then I suggested-- why don't we do it in the parking lot?" Chambers said. 

So they did. Problem solved. 

Chambers says performing baptisms at the hospital is a regular part of her job and small adjustments-- like where the baptism is held-- don't matter much in the long run. Something bigger is on everybody's minds.

As more COVID-19 patients flood into the hospital, Chambers says the atmosphere has changed. 

"Families can't visit like they used to have, or they can't have that kind of connection," Chambers said. "People are saying: 'Can you pray for me? Can you put me on the prayer list as you walk around during the day? And just pray ... because I'm grasping out for hope. Not only for in the midst of this situation, but the hope for the way out.'"